NCP leader says, 'Give me any role in party and then see how I handle it'
Geetanjali Minhas | June 22, 2023 | Mumbai
Making no bones about his desire to hold a party position, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar has said that he wanted to step down as Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly and instead wanted to have a role in the party organisation.
Expressly stating his views at the NCP's silver jubilee celebrations in Mumbai on Wednesday, Pawar said, "I have worked for many years in the party... I have worked in many posts... The post of Opposition leader is not what I had demanded. I was never interested in taking up the post in the first place... I agreed only because of requests from the legislators and I have handled the responsibility for the past one year. I am told that I do not act tough as the leader of the opposition… Should I go and grab peoples' collars? …It is up to NCP leadership to decide on this demand.
"The party leaders have to take the decision... I do not want to continue as the Leader of the Opposition. I request you to give me any position in the party and then see how I handle it," he said at the function in the presence of his uncle and party supremo, Sharad Pawar, his cousin, Supriya Sule, senior leaders Praful Patel, Jayant Patil, Dilip Valse Patil, Eknath Khadse and Sunil Tatkare, besides several other party functionaries and workers in the packed Shanmukhnanda Hall.
Ajit Pawar also said that he was not unhappy at being left out of the party posts since he was always active in state politics and had been handling the assembly's responsibility. He took the charge as the LoP last July after the MVA government collapsed due to a rebellion in Shiv Sena .
Earlier this month, Sharad Pawar had announced the appointment of Praful Patel and Supriya Sule as the party’s working presidents. However, Ajit Pawar was not assigned any charge on the grounds that he was doing well as LoP. Speculations have been rife on Ajit Pawar wanting to step into his uncle’s shoes and even planning to switch over to BJP with support of a section of MLAs. He has, however, denied such reports.
Ajit Pawar also attacked the Shiv Sena-BJP government for its alleegd failure on the law and order front and the farmers' issue in the state, saying that time has come for the combine to go. “Introspection is necessary for bringing in change.”
In the same breadth, he said that Sharad Pawar is a bigger leader than Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and others and asked: “Why cannot NCP work towards this goal (to win Maharashtra on its strength)?"
He also said that Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), led by Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) headed by Prakash Ambedkar cannot be ignored.
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